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Your deaf child may be oral, signing, or bilingual.  These tips will improve the communication with your child, regardless of whether they speak, sign or do both. 

  • Get your child’s attention before you speak to them, by a gentle touch on the arm
  • Establish eye contact.
  • Face your child directly so they can lip-read what you are saying. Do not speak with your back to your child or from a distance. 
  • If your child can hear better with one ear, stand on the ‘better’ side.
  • Speak as clearly as possible in a natural way and at a moderate pace. Don’t over exaggerate mouth movements as this will make lip-reading more difficult.
  • Don’t shout!
  • Make sure your mouth is visible. If your mouth is covered, your child will be unable to lipread what you are saying.
  • Reduce background noise.
  • Use short and grammatically simple sentences, give instructions one step at a time, avoid abrupt topic changes, and explain when you are changing the topic.
  • If your child does not understand what you said, rephrase it using simple words or signs. 
  • Use lots of gestures, visual cues, facial expressions and body language to support what you have said
  • If necessary, write the message down in simple language.
  • Check comprehension by asking for feedback.
  • Recognise that your child can hear and understand less when they are tired or ill.
  • Be patient, positive and relaxed when speaking to your child. 

Related posts:

  1. The Power of a Parent Support Network for Parents of Deaf Children

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